STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE

Some of the Best of Our Local Dishes

Written by Gail G. Collins

It’s no secret anymore. Flagstaff’s culinary scene is now the envy of much of Arizona. For a mountain town that still does not top 100,000 people, this place has dozens of independent restaurants achieving a high level of dining in their respective categories. After a few years of basking in the recent lineup of hotspots, we thought we would pause to reflect on a handful of signature dishes by our new dining places and expanded or reinvented eateries with a look across the foodie spectrum.

Craving Crepes at Streetside Saigon

In a nod to the French, the classic banh xeo, a crepe, is revamped with shrimp and shitake, that’s a hit at Streetside Saigon. The rice flour crisp is vivid with turmeric, filled with bean sprouts plus chive and served with a field of lettuce and traditional herbs. Tear off some crepe, tuck it into a lettuce leaf with mint and cilantro, roll it and soak up the lively dip—light, crunchy, healthy and flavorful. Not up for the crepe? Try the banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich, which boasts French influence in multiple ways. Streetside slathers their softer-than-baguette bun with pate and hose mayo, piles on tender pork meatballs and a layer of livered carrot, daikon and cucumber for a tongue-teasing combination of tastes and textures. streetsidesaigon.com

Pastry Power at Tourist Home Urban Market

The Tourist Home Urban Market has become a signature stop in revitalize Southside Flagstaff. Once a historic building near ruin, it’s since been dramatically reinvented as a market and eatery that has helped raise the bar on good, simple food with a short list of ingredients. Among the savory offerings are amazing sweet treats. Pastries are made fresh daily and abound on Saturday via Kat Biemann’s longtime expertise. A variety of donuts, airy macarons, berry crumble cake or homemade brown sugar Pop=Tarts tempt, so mix and match a basket of three for $7.  tinderboxkitchen.com/tourist-home

Pumpkin Soup Stir-Up at Cuvee 928

Cuvee 928 Wine Bar and Restaurant, as you might expect, can pair a wine with their daily soup offering. Their pumpkin-based and spiced soup bumps it a notch with pork belly, green chili, garlic and ginger, topped with oil and powdered truffle, plus citrus balsamic reduction. The thick, creamy squash with chunks of mushroom and meat presents a mouthful of harvest flavors. For anyone in favor of something more filling and hearty, the lobster mac ‘n cheese is a menu item not to be missed for its creamy goodness and chunks of savory lobster.  cuvee928winebar.com

Amazing App with Kicks Signature Kickers

Okay, so we went a little of Flagstaff a few times recently to celebrate other food renaissances, including Williams, and wanted to include an entry here. In the small town 35 miles to the west, an old Denny’s has been transformed into a delicious eatery called Kicks. And it has the appetizer to end all appetizers. The signature kickers are enormous, spicy jalapeno-stuffed with cream and cheddar cheeses, wrapped in a double layer of smoky bacon and drizzles with Arizona prickly pear sauce. Located just west of Williams proper, it’s worth the ride out for the starters and beyond. williamsazrestaurant.com

Savory Sandwiches at the Toasted Owl Café

Toasted Owl Café’s prosciutto brie sandwich slaters seed fig jam on grilled focaccia melts brie over a stack of tender, razor-thin meat and finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It’s a sign the Owl is working to bump up the power of the sandwich and wow taste buds. Along with the pro-brie, the loaded turkey sandwich is another hottie dressed with pesto, Havarti, tomato and greens on hearty wheat. The Birch club masses meat in a classic combo of ham, turkey and bacon plus mozzarella, slice tomato, greens and mayo on wheat. Served cold, it’s a smoky meld of flavors. thetoastedowl.com

NALML

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